Saint Paul EMS Academy

Inver Hills partners with Saint Paul Fire Department

The Saint Paul Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Training Academy is an intensive, tuition-free emergency medical technician (EMT) certification and firefighter awareness program designed for low-income, minority and women students residing in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Ann Zimmermann-Hohn, EMS training coordinator with Minnesota Training Connection (MTC), reported that Inver Hills Community College, via MTC customized training and continuing education, hires the program’s EMT instructors, designs the EMT course curriculum and provides training equipment. Ann herself is an emergency medical technician and she works part-time as an EMT at the Minnesota Zoo.

“Prior to graduation, EMS Academy students take practical skills and written exams to earn National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians certification,” she said. “Graduates are encouraged to go on to become paramedics and firefighters.”

About the role of the EMT…

EMTEmergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) provide out-of-hospital emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical services (EMS) system.

EMTs have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life threatening emergencies.

Emergency Medical Technicians function as part of a comprehensive EMS response system, under medical oversight. Emergency Medical Technicians perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. Emergency Medical Technicians are a critical link between the scene of an emergency and the health care system.

Courtesy of the National EMS Scope of Practice Model

Sponsors for the EMS Academy in 2017 are Inver Hills, the city of Saint Paul, Saint Paul Public Schools, Saint Paul Parks & Recreation, and Hiway Federal Credit Union. Each week, a Hiway representative visits the EMS Academy location on West 7th Street in St. Paul to instruct students on financial awareness.

In April 2012, that location, a decommissioned Saint Paul Fire Department firehouse, was renamed Freedom House Station 51 to recognize Freedom House Ambulance Service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The original Freedom House pioneered the first modern ambulance service in the nation from 1967–1975.

Freedom House Station 51
Freedom House Station 51

Students enrolled in the St. Paul program are between the ages of 18–30; they earn an hourly wage during their training period, which lasts 240 hours over the course of 10–14 weeks. Program recruitment targets youth of diverse ethnicity, linguistic ability and cultural experience. The academy’s goal is building an EMS workforce reflective of communities in the city of St. Paul.

“Enrolling in the Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) program at Inver Hills Community College is a definite option for EMS Academy graduates,” Ann said. “Students in the Inver Hills program can earn a 70-credit Associate of Science (A.S.) in Emergency Medical Services and become certified paramedics. Inver EMS program graduates are eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) written and practical exams to become certified nationally and in the state of Minnesota.”

About Minnesota Training Connection…

Minnesota Training Connection, a partnership between Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College, is dedicated to providing flexible career training solutions to business and industry.

Leveraging the resources of Minnesota State, the nation’s fourth largest higher education system with 30 two-year colleges, seven four-year universities and 54 campuses across the state, our training is designed to make your business more competent and more competitive.

To learn more, visit Minnesota Training Connection.

SPFDMatt Simpson, assistant fire chief with the Saint Paul Fire Department (SPFD), noted that the EMS Academy consists of three phases:

  • Phase I was the origination of the academy
  • Phase II is Basic Life Support (BLS) transportation system training
  • Phase III is the Fire Medic Cadet (FMC) program, which offers a progressive, full-time position leading to the Saint Paul Firefighter Training Academy

“The intent of this program is to provide knowledge, skills and abilities that will allow the individual to attend paramedic school, Firefighter I and II Training, and ultimately be prepared to test into the SPFD,” Assistant Fire Chief Simpson said.

Freedom House Station 51 is equipped with facilities for use by EMS Academy students, including an exercise room, main lecture hall, scenario room (formerly the firehouse captain’s quarters), kitchen, dining area, dispatch room, ambulance bay with Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) vehicles, the latter SPFD backup, and a practical skills room (formerly the firehouse bunk room.)

EMS Academy 2017 Summer Class Student Tsegereda Assefa

Tsegereda Assefa
Tsegereda Assefa, 22, is originally from Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tsegereda (the “T” is silent) moved to Minnesota at the age of six and today is a resident of St. Paul. A 2014 graduate of Como Park High School, she attended St. Paul College for one semester on a licensed practical nursing (LPN) track.

Thanks to EMS Academy, Tsegereda’s dreams to become a nurse have been reborn. After graduating this August, she plans to enroll in the Nursing program at Century College. Her goal is to become a registered nurse (RN) in a hospital emergency room.

“The EMS Academy is like a little family,” Tsegereda said. “I didn’t know much at all about EMS and first responders before I started. The learning is fast-paced and that means more studying, but I like to learn that way.”

Tsegereda is looking forward to working in an ER setting. “I want to be the person who’s there when someone is hurt,” she said. “I want to be the one who answers when they make the call for help.”

Ken Adams, fire captain and EMS coordinator with the Saint Paul Fire Department, reported that the EMS Academy represents the vision of SPFD Fire Chief Tim Butler. “Chief Butler was looking for ways to diversify the department,” Captain Adams said. “He teamed up with Inver Hills Community College and community partners and made the academy happen. The EMS Academy offers people the opportunity to change their lives. I see that outcome in every academy graduating class.”

Ann Zimmermann-Hohn added that the graduation ceremony for EMS Academy students in the 2017 summer class will take place Monday, August 28, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul. Nine graduates will take part in the ceremony. Since the EMS Academy’s inception in 2009, nearly 240 low-income, diverse young adults of St. Paul have graduated from the program.

EMS Academy Instructor Kayla Ludden

Kayla Ludden
A 2009 graduate of the Academy of Science and Agriculture in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, Kayla Ludden, 26, is an EMS Academy graduate, class of 2013. Kayla went on to earn her A.S. in EMS at Inver Hills in 2016 and became a certified paramedic. She is also a DOT certified instructor through the Minnesota Training Connection.

Kayla has been teaching classes at the academy for two years. She loves her job and thinks of Freedom House Station 51 as her home away from home.

“The EMS Academy gives people opportunities they might not otherwise have,” she said. “Our students overcome all kinds of obstacles to graduate, including homelessness and not enough food to eat. One of our graduates was an Iraqi refugee. He just finished his premed courses at the University of Minnesota and is applying to medical school with the goal to become a doctor.”

EMS Academy Graduate Sam Perry

Sam Perry
Sam Perry, 26, a 2012 EMS Academy graduate, earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Global Studies with a Russian Focus in 2016. Sam speaks Russian and lived for a time in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, a republic of the Russian Federation, as well as the eighth largest city in the country with a population topping 1.1 million.

Today, Sam is a Saint Paul Fire Department medic cadet based at Freedom House Station 51. His goal is to become a SPFD firefighter/paramedic.

“I heard about the EMS Academy from my dad,” Sam said. “He learned about the opportunity from a firefighter/paramedic at the department. If you want to work in the medical field, the EMS Academy is a great springboard.”

To learn more about Minnesota Training Connection and the EMS Academy, contact:

Ann Zimmermann-Hohn
EMS Training Coordinator
Minnesota Training Connection

Click photo below to like the Saint Paul EMS Academy on Facebook

Main Lecture Room
Main lecture hall at the EMS Academy

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